LOS ANGELES -- Two-goal leads have been like a big hairball for the Kings this season. They cough them up every chance they get.
They made an exception Monday night against the visiting San Jose Sharks, however, getting 33 saves from goalie Jonathan Quick in a 2-0 victory at Staples Center, snapping a two-game losing streak that began when the Kings blew a two-goal lead Wednesday in Dallas.
“We were determined to shut this game down,” said Kings coach Terry Murray. “Jonathan Quick did a good job at the end of the day. … We have to give him a big pat on the back for the effort, but I like what everybody did as far as the attitude, a lot of paying the price along the boards.”
In recent years, the Kings have been one of the best teams in the league while holding a lead at the start of the third period. They’ve let a handful of two-goal leads get away this season, but either scored late in the third period or overtime, or won a shootout, to get the victory.
That wasn’t the case last week in Dallas, when they let a 2-0 lead at the start of the third dissolve when the Stars scored the tying goal with 20 seconds remaining in regulation, then won in overtime.
“Playing with a lead is a real strong suit of ours for the last 2 ½ years,” said Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi. “Even recently, say the last month, we’ve had the lead then we’ve let the team get back into it, but we pulled it off in the end. … Tonight we really had a big focus on trying to finish off the right way.”
Even the frustration of having a third goal disallowed on a controversial call didn’t sway the Kings in the final period. Dustin Brown was ruled on the ice to have scored a power-play goal off a rebound. Replays showed he got his stick on the puck just as Kings defenseman Slava Voynov was kicking at the puck as well.
After the play was reviewed by officials in Toronto and subsequently disallowed for Voynov's kick, Murray said the referee told him the replay was inconclusive. In that case, the call on the ice should have stood.
“It is a goal by that explanation,” he said. “It has to be conclusive that it’s kicked. The video was inconclusive so it should have been a goal.”
The Kings didn’t put their heads down and sulk however. They finished the third period the way they started the game, with the determination to skate away with a victory.